Monday, June 25, 2012

Crimes and Misdemeanors: SUNY Board Expected to Give Eva Moskowitz Her 50% Increase in Vigorish in Vote Today

Vigorish, or simply the vig, also known as juice, the cut or the take, is the amount charged by a bookmaker, or bookie, for his services. In the United States it also means the interest on a shark's loan. The term is Yiddish slang originating from the Russian word for winnings, выигрыш vyigrysh.[1] Bookmakers use this practice to make money on their wagers regardless of the outcome. -- Wikkipedia
[Success Academy Charter] spent"...more than $3.4 million spent on marketing and drumming up huge numbers of application forms - in just one year."

"On its annual tax forms, (Success) has continually reported huge year-end surpluses for both itself and its individual schools. Those combined surpluses currently stand at more $23.5 million" ------Juan Gonzalez, Daily News

In case you missed my fictional blog from yesterday, Eva Moskowitz Deals With Armageddon, what you read below is NOT fiction.

It's all about children/students/scholars first, except when it comes to getting your vig. I'm going to try to make the press conference. My theory is that the more they take the more people will get riled up. So let the criminals at the SUNY charter board allow Eva to get her 15%. Note the last item in Juan Gonzalez' column today:

As for the Success Academy's "extraordinary level of student achievement," that will be the subject of a future column.
Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Ravitch is also blogging about this:
How Charter Schools Get a Bad Reputation


Urge SUNY and Governor Cuomo to Put the Millions She Wants Into Public Schools to Benefit ALL Kids

WHO: Parents, Community Members, Elected Officials, Activists from New York Communities for Change, Parents Leaders for Upper East Side Schools (PLUS)

WHAT: Rally and press conference outside SUNY’s Midtown building prior to rubber stamp SUNY vote that will give Moskowitz a 50% increase in management fees to cover her charter school network’s claimed annual “deficit” – even though the same network shows a surplus of $24 million and growing.

WHERE: SUNY College of Optometry. 33 W. 42nd St., between 5th and 6th avenues.

WHEN: 1 p.m. for rally and press conference. SUNY Board vote scheduled for 2 p.m.

WHY:  The additional millions in tax dollars Eva Moskowitz will get from raising her management fees will be siphoned directly from students and classroom budgets.  The increased fees will continue instead to pay Moskowitz and her team Wall Street level salaries, to pad her growing endowment/surplus, and to pay lobbyists and marketing consultants millions to denigrate our public schools as “failures” in order to construct demand and generate enough applications needed to feed the Success Charter corporation.  These tax dollars could be constructively used instead to provide real choice for all parents by investing in our public schools and ensuring that the 96% of students in those public schools have the same resources that Success Academies and most charters already have, i.e. smart boards in every room, useable science labs, renovated and accessible bathrooms, updated text books, adequate funding for special needs students, and smaller class sizes. 
Join parents today at press conference, protest against SUNY's vote to raise Eva's fees and use funds instead for our public schools. 33 w 42nd Press conference at 1; vote at 2. 

noah e gotbaum
twitter: @noahegotbaum

Juan Gonzales in the Daily News
Even in public education, the rich keep getting richer.
That's the message the trustees of the State University of New York will send Monday when they vote to approve a huge 50% increase in the per-pupil management fee of one of the city's wealthiest, biggest-spending and most controversial charter school operators.

The Success Academy Charter Schools Inc., run by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, applied in April for an increase from $1,350 to $2,000 in the annual per student payment it receives from the state to run 10 of its charter schools.

SUNY postponed the vote following a public outcry over the agency's failure to disclose any details beforehand.

Not until Friday morning did the agency finally release some documents to justify the increase.

Among them is a May 22 letter from Moskowitz that claims her network has been heavily subsidizing "shortfalls" in its management costs for years through outside donations and grants.

Those high costs have been a result, Moskowitz said, of a "quality and intensity of services that is far higher than nearly any other (charter operator) in New York City," yet she has continued to augment her services despite insufficient fees from the schools.

But with the "deficit ... increasing every year," Moskowitz says, "the current situation is simply unsustainable." In 2010-11 alone, she states, her network's "shortfall" reached $4.7 million.

This will all come as a huge surprise to anyone who has bothered to examine Success Academy's financial reports or who has witnessed firsthand its almost limitless spending .
The Success Network, in fact, is a fund-raising colossus, having received $28 million from dozens of foundations and wealthy investors the past six years, and millions more in state and federal grants.

On its annual tax forms, it has continually reported huge year-end surpluses for both itself and its individual schools. Those combined surpluses currently stand at more $23.5 million.
Hardly the picture of financial woe.

Last year alone, the network spent an astounding $883,119 on "student recruitment" - much of it for glossy flyers mailed to hundreds of thousands of parents; bus stop and Internet ads and an army of paid recruiters to go door-to-door soliciting student applications.
Even other charter schools rarely spend more than a few thousand dollars on student recruitment.

Meanwhile, Moskowitz's network spent another $1.3 million on what it described as "network events and community outreach."

It paid $243,150 to SKD Knickerbocker, a high-powered public relations firm, to supplement its own in-house press people, and another $129,000 to a Washington consulting firm founded by President Obama's chief strategist David Axelrod.

But that wasn't all that Success Academy spent on marketing itself.

The network's first seven schools incurred an additional $912,000 "student recruitment" expenditure last year, most of it going to big advertising and branding companies.

That's comes to more than $3.4 million spent on marketing and drumming up huge numbers of application forms - in just one year.

It is perhaps the most intense campaign to sell a group of charter schools in the history of education.

"Our results prove we are spending resources effectively," Moskowitz said. "With fewer taxpayer dollars than district schools, we have an extraordinary level of student achievement, which is why we have 13,000 applicants this year."

Which, of course, ignores the fact there is no need to spend so many millions of dollars to recruit 10 times more applicants than you can possibly handle.

As for the Success Academy's "extraordinary level of student achievement," that will be the subject of a future column.

For now, despite efforts from parent groups led by New York Communities for Change, SUNY's bureaucrats seems poised to give Moskowitz exactly what she wants - a big fee increase to overcome her "unsustainable shortfall."
Juan Gonzalez

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